A Moroccan Christmas Tree

This past weekend was another one crammed with creativity and good company.

A birthday party and a dear friend and her family over for dinner was then followed by the decorating of a tree to benefit the Talbot County, Maryland’s Hospice Organization. I was asked to do this tree last minute by my friend Pama, the owner of Moonvine, a little gift and lovelies shop right across Harrison Street from Gold ballroom in the Tidewater Inn in Easton, Maryland where the trees are displayed.

Hospice Festival of Trees in Easton, MD on

The ornaments are donated by the decorators and then the trees are pre-sold to local businesses and patrons. I knew that I had a few items in the attic that would create a Moroccan themed tree. Ornaments left over from my first “real” tree that I had ordered while attending the Atlanta Gift show 15 years ago back when I worked for Pama. A befitting recycling. Thankfully, the recipient of my tree is Midge, the creator of the Festival of Trees event some 20 years ago. She loved the colors and was really looking forward to having my masterpiece in her hallway. Now I really had to care what it looked like.

let the tree decorating begin on

close up of the moroccan themed Christmas tree on

I was one of the first to arrive and got right to shoving the netting in and making the ribbon weave through the tree. And when Pama entered the Gold ballroom, it was a joy to hear her exclaim happy greetings to all these women who she has worked with year after year. All day I heard her at various trees coaching the teams on how to do bows or professional festooning. It was a joy to be in the room with all these happy to be creative do-gooders and my gal Pama, aka Coach.

The festival of trees at the Tidewater Inn in Easton, MD on

The festival of trees at the Tidewater Inn in Easton, MD on

The Inn provided coffee and fruit infused water for us to sip as we stepped back to examine the trees and find the holes that needed filling. The room was full of chatter and focus and a breeze from the tented patio. Decorating my Moroccan Christmas tree must have taken me the better part of four hours to fill that tree. I was fried and happy enough at the end of the day. We will be returning next Monday for Eamon’s piano recital here in this very room. And Mark helps with the Festival of Trees fashion show too.

A Moraccan themed Christmas on

One tree down, two more to go. Hope you are inspired and let me know if I can help you with your decorating projects in any way.


It’s a Small World On A Large Tree


This was my fourth year designing and decorating a 15 foot tree at our Fellowship in Easton. Besides all the trees I’ve fussed over for myself, the ones at my shop, I’ve had previous experience decorating trees professionally with my friend Pama from Moonvine. Both at her shop,


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and at Annie’s restaurant on Kent Narrows. This slide show is composed of those Annie’s trees.


If this tree from the Festival of Trees in Easton looks familiar, that is because it was designed by the very same uber-talented Pama.

And she probably sneezed it up in her sleep.

It's a small world tree by Shalagh Hogan on


This big tree is my self-appointed challenge and this year, I went with the paper doll inspiration. Foreign flavored paper children holding hands.

My thoughts then went to stars and mini globes. Figured I might as well do a “think globally, act locally’ meets”It’s a small world” kinda theme.

And that’s what I did.

Understand that this large of a tree requires the right scale of ornaments to be seen.

They need to be Large. And you need different textures.


So the last-minute found me grabbing branches from the basement (you mean you don’t have spare branches lying around?),

and shredding more map pages from our old road atlas to make nests.

Plus making the requisite red bows.


 We filled in with left over brown paper flowers and hydrangea from years past and voilà,


the result was just the right amount of red and texture and movement.

I’m one happy Designer. I pleased myself and everyone else as well.

This was the perfect theme and the cost? Free.

I’m One Happy Christmas Crafter

It is my considered opinion that Christmas is about creativity as well as reverence.

An opportunity to offer one’s gratitude from the depths of your creative soul. To play like a child and feel proud of what you’ve done.

 Designing this 15 foot Christmas tree, I needed other elements to complete my vision.

coffee filter stars

After trolling the internet for ideas, I found inspiration on Pinterest in these brown Paper stars.


And these are what I came up with. The opportunity to photograph was short. 11Pm last night before the tree went up today.

And I am terribly happy with what came of it. More to come Monday.

Create a happy weekend.

The Other Christmas Tree


I have the pleasure, and self-imposed duty, of decorating the 15 foot tree at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Easton.  Themes have varied over the last three years. And this year will be no different. I use it to spark some ornament making project and I am always rewarded with the outcome.


the ladder

Last year I was 5 months pregnant in December and everyone wanted to fuss about me being up on a ladder in “my condition” which wasn’t at all compromising. There is a point when your equilibrium is a little wonky and then you re-adjust quickly. Probably the least enjoyed part of being pregnant is everyone’s expectations and opinions of what you should be. They couldn’t have known I was more in danger of electrocuting myself with my hormonal stupid brain cloud.

Yes, I am showing you a picture of the tree and a special shot of my butt from 2011

Yes, I am showing you a picture of the tree and a special shot of my butt from 2011

2011’s tree,  with its red and purple combination, was the purple hat society tree. I made this color combination statement unintentionally.

The little aqua and green wouldn’t sway me from naming it this.


This year, although I know I will be wanting to put red in it (read My Trying Tannenbaum for that explanation), I am attempting a whole new theme based on these paper dolls that my sister made 13 years ago for my bridal shower. The new theme will involve mini world globes and brown paper stars (just posted a preview shot to Instagram). Last years paper Christmas inspiration was satisfying.  See the final house decorations from 2012 here. Once I get something in my head…I have to see it through.  Remember, this is still a 15 foot tree so the elements need to be big enough and complement one another. And crafting with the baby is a greater challenge every day.

Wish me luck. I’ll do my best and will be Letting Go of the rest.


Letting It Go

Last Friday on our regular “pizza and movie night“, I called Domino’s and they delivered the pizza. No biggee right? But I can’t remember the last time I did that. Or even thought to do it. We usually either make the pizza or, when we can splurge, we go pick it up from Sal’s pizzeria. In my head, it had to be done a certain “way“. Until last Friday when I said, fiddle faddle on that. I have a phone, I’m going to make this not hard otherwise known as EASY. It seems I don’t know what easy means.

But recently, I’ve noticed I’m letting go of stuff. For the past couple years, much to my husband’s surprise, I have said yes to the first Christmas tree I see. Unheard of. I’m supposed to walk around undecided in the cold for an hour hemming and hawing over which tree is the perfect one. Wasn’t that how we did it when we were kids? It’s a pre-cut 7 ft Scotch pine. Done. Those persnickety Christmas tree days are long gone. Because as soon as I get to putting all the lights and the decorations on that poor tree, it will look completely different and fabulous no matter. Remember the tree in the Charlie Brown Christmas special? Nuff said.

Christmas tree in Livingroom

Seems to me it’s a matter of trusting in the overall outcome and letting go of the details. Otherwise known as stopping the control freak behavior. Do your best, let go of the rest. That was my 2013 motto.

This morning my husband said something about how I seemed calmer today. I didn’t think so I asked what he meant. He didn’t answer so then I asked if this was a good thing or a bad thing. He said, “good thing” and noted that he hadn’t said “ more than usual”. Smart man, backwards compliment.

So, to sum up, in an effort to control everything, we control nothing and feel worse for it. Calling for pizza delivery on Friday night is just as acceptable as making it or eating out or carrying it back home. What matters is the time you just got to spend with your 8-year-old watching Beetlejuice and grimacing when the language is a little racier than you remember. And Christmas trees are beautiful because they’re trees that smell good and twinkle inside our houses. So cool.

Is there something have you consciously let go of thinking you could control recently?

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